13 APRIL 1929, Page 18


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] Stn,---As a farmer in West Middlesex, I have been very interested in reading Mr. Basil D. Reed's letter, but am astonished at one of his statements, " No Housing Act is of any use to the agricultural worker, because no houses can be built at less than 5s. per week, brought up by rates to 7s. or 7s. 6d." If Mr. Reed will build houses in this district for 10s. per week I have not the least doubt that he will be able to find genuine agricultural workers to take them, Several of my labourers are living with wife and children in one or two rooms and cannot find a house of any description, One of them would willingly pay 15s. per week. He earns over £2 per week himself and his wife from 20s. to 30s. per week. Ten shillings a week houses would be a godsend in this part of England.

I believe it would be good business for the council to build two or three cottages in every village—giving agri. cultural labourersfirst refusal. I believe that if there should be a difficulty in making such houses a paying proposition, that a great many farmers would gladly pay ls. or 2s. per week towards the cost to the council, if they could find a cottage for some labourer they wished to employ. A great deal of money has been spent by Government on small holdings and a great loss has been incurred, but the loss has been justified because there are scattered about the country a large number of decent dwellings as a result of the scheme. Very little loss need be incurred through the above suggestion. If King's Lynn can build cheap houses other councils can do the same. The pulling down of poor cottages could wait until there is something to replace them. One thing is necessary, and that is to see that houses built for the poorest class are not snapped up by men who have from £3 to £5 a week, and can find money to buy such houses as are now being built wholesale.—I am, Sir, &c., Vicarage Farm, Hounslow. A. J. ROBBINS.